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26march201013Dharamshala: In the wake of the showdown between Google and China over censorship and information control, United States internet company GoDaddy has announced that it will cease registering Chinese domain names. The decision may bear good tidings for Tibetans hoping to use the internet to communicate with the outside world, potentially leading to increased personal protection and freedom of speech for domain owners.

Christine Jones, general counsel of GoDaddy, said that the decision to stop registering new domain names in China came after the Chinese announced a new government policy that required the company to provide extensive personal information about their customers. Along with the standard name, address, telephone number and email address that most domain name registries require, the new Chinese government policy also asked that new users provide a fully color head and shoulders photo of themselves, a business registration number, and physical signed registration forms.

Said Jones, "We were immediately concerned about the motives behind the increased level of registrant verification being required. The intent of the procedures appeared, to us, to be based on a desire by the Chinese authorities to exercise increased control over the subject matter of domain name registrations by Chinese nationals." She added that the company did not want to assist the Chinese government with censorship and monitoring of internet users, saying, "We decided we didn't want to be agents of China."

If internet companies continue to follow in the footsteps of GoDaddy and Google by tabling commercial success for the sake of user security and freedom, it could be the catalyst to increased freedom of speech for internet users in Tibet and China.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com